Oracle’s Pre-built Virtual Machine for SOA Suite 11g

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VMware player has been my number one virtualization solution for quite some time. Recently I became curious about Oracle’s virtualBox (formally Sun’s virtualization solution). Could this be a nice alternative? Especially because Oracle recently released a pre-built virtualBox virtual machine (vm) with the SOA and BPM Suite 11g running on Oracle’s Enterprise Linux 5.

In this post I’ll summarize what I had to do to get this vm running. I wanted to see if I was easily able to reach the next without having to read endless manuals:

  1. Getting the vm to run the first time
  2. Network & Shares (Connectivity)
  3. Working with snapshots

Getting the vm to run for the first time was very easy. After downloading and installing virtualBox itself and downloading and importing the vm into virtualBox I could start it without any trouble.

The virtual machine itself has two disks, one of 6 Gb containing the operating system and utilities of which only 500 Mb of free disk space is left. A second disk of 20Gb contains the oracle software and is mounted as /oracle. Here you have about 9 Gb of free disk space left. Increasing virtual disk space cannot be done very easily in virtualBox. Basically you need to create a new disk and copy the content (see link). Hopefully the 500 Mb free disk space on the primary disk is enough.

After starting the weblogic server instances I could open Enterprise Manager. All seemed to be working fine.

Before you can access the internet you need to activate the network. Somehow this has been switched off by default.

Like VMware virtualBox has its own VMware tools called virtualBox guest additions. You can mount the tools as a disk. Installing the tools using the command file autorun.sh did not work unfortunately. I needed to type in sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run in a terminal window to start the installation process. Depending on your hardware you might need another VBoxLinuxAdditions-xxx.run file.

I also wanted to be able to use shared folders. Virtualbox also knows this concept. To get it working you need to use SharedFolders as folder name. The first time I did not know this and it did not work.

As Firefox is installed on the 6Gb primary file system it uses the /tmp directory as temporarily storing space during downloads. When you try to download large files (> 500 Mb) you run into trouble I noticed. As the space left on this file system is less than 500 Mb Firefox stopped downloading ending in error. Even though I selected /oracle/downloads on the secondary file system as my download location. This file system has at least 9 Gb of free disk space. I could not find any way of changing the location Firefox uses to store its temporarily download parts. Now it would have been nice to be able to extend the disk space more easily.

As this was my first time I used virtualBox I had to find out how virtualBox works compared to VMware. One if these things was what to do when virtualBox crashes. I found out I had to kill still running instances in the task manager to have the running state reset in the virtualBox console. With VMware you have to delete some files to reset the state so this is a different approach.

If you want to read a more detailed description about my experiences with the virtual machine please follow this link.

One of the things I want to do with this virtual machine is to install Oracle Service Bus on it. As I do not want my vm to end up in a corrupt state when something goes wrong I want to be able to do  rollbacks. To save your vm state you can take snapshots. Although it looks like VMware has a more extended snapshot functionality, virtualBox’s snapshot work fine for what I want to do: Create a before install snapshot, when all goes well remove the before snapshot, when something goes wrong restore the before install snapshot.

Taking snapshots is very easy. In the snapshots tab of the virtualBox console you select the current state and take a snapshot by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S. When you take a snapshot the current state becomes read only. Changes are stored in a separate file.

Going back to an earlier snapshot can be done by using restore snapshot.

restoring a snapshot

I want to keep my administration tidy when the installation is successful. In that case the snapshot can be removed. You can do this by deleting the snapshot. The changes are merged back into the read only state again and the snapshot is removed from the list. You also use this when you want to merge the restored state back into the current state. Using the Delete statement in that case sounded somewhat odd at first. Something I need to get used to I guess.

If you want a more detailed description of the snapshot functionality please follow this link.

I can only conclude that, with some minor tailoring, you can make this virtual machine into a fully functional and connected environment. Looking at virtualBox itself I find working with snapshots is easy. I will be using virtualBox besides VMware from now on.

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About Author

Izaak de Hullu is an architect SOA and Integration. Experience in mostly Java integration projects with products like OSB, Weblogic but also BPM/BPEL products like Oracle BPM en Cordys.

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